High Schoolers Celebrate the Arts at Cairn’s CREATE Conference

On April 8–10, Cairn University and Harvey Cedars Bible Conference hosted the CREATE Conference, a weekend arts retreat for high school students. More than two dozen students and several Cairn faculty, staff, and alumni gathered together to celebrate the arts and explore how creativity impacts
the learning experience.

The conference was kicked off with a general session from keynote speaker and chair of the history department at Cairn University, Assistant Professor Christopher Palladino ’94. He lectured on creation, redemption, beauty, forms of art and expression, and approaches to creativity, as well as posing question

Students then broke out into three different tracks: Creative Writing (led by part-time faculty members Charlotte Gleason WWC’97/’00 and Amy Dunlap ’07), Studio Art (led by director of the Arts and Culture
First Year Program Andrea Fiori), and Film & Photography (led by Michael Rothermel ’14 and Sarah Zimmerman ’04/G’12).

Film students worked on artistic adaptation of The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe; visual arts students practiced a variety of new techniques such as encaustic painting, screen printing on silk, and sketching; and creative writing students developed plots and characters for short stories and novel concepts.

The weekend culminated with The Showcase, in which the three groups came together to share their work. The main meeting room, transformed into a gallery, was bedecked with the artwork of the visual arts students. The creative writing team debriefed the rest of the group in a panel format, and the film students presented screenings of their short films.

“The conference was truly a celebration of who God has made us to be as creative beings,” Palladino shares. “I am grateful for John Bolton of HCBC and Saritha (Petthongpoon) Rothermel ’12/G’15 for casting the vision and organizing the event; the Cairn faculty, staff, and alumni for leading the breakout tracks; and my wife, Heather, for assisting as a consultant.”